US Army Private Travis King has been returned to American custody, two US officials said Wednesday, weeks after he crossed into North Korea.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed that the US has “secured the return of Private Travis King” in a statement on Wednesday morning.
“We appreciate the dedication of the interagency team that has worked tirelessly out of concern for Private King’s wellbeing. In addition, we thank the government of Sweden for its diplomatic role serving as the protecting power for the United States in the DPRK and the government of the People’s Republic of China for its assistance in facilitating the transit of Private King,” Sullivan said in the statement.
Earlier North Korean state media KCNA reported that the secretive state had decided “to expel” King, who entered its territory during a tour of the Joint Security Area (JSA) between North and South Korea in July.
The KCNA report said a North Korean investigation into King “has been finished.”
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US officials said King was released after “intense diplomacy” between multiple countries culminating in Wednesday’s transfer across the border into China and onward to US custody.
“The US government has successfully facilitated Private Travis King’s departure from the DPRK. His transfer culminates a month’s long effort involving multiple US government agencies undertaken out of concern for Private King’s well-being and a desire to reunite him with his family,” a senior administration official said.